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WLN Kraków conference report, 28-30 Sept 2017

14 November 2017
Stuart Miller

 

This year’s autumn conference saw us return to the beautiful, historic city of Kraków, Poland. Our hosts were the fantastic team at Gorazda, Świstuń, Wątroba i Partnerzy (GSW), where the organisation was led by GSW partner & WLN Director, Renata Warchoł-Lewicka.

We were joined by guests from non-WLN firms from five countries and thank them all for making a huge effort to join us and contribute their skills and sense of enthusiasm to our conference:

  • China - Ashley Chen, Jackie Wu from Shanghai Yingdong Law Firm
  • Argentina - Andres Willa of Estudio Willa Abogados in Buenos Aires
  • Brazil - Guilherme de Campos Andrade of Andrade, Lacaz & Vasconcelos Advogados
  • Ukraine - Svetlana Kovalska, Senior Consultant, Tax & Legal, Yakovlev & Partners LLC, Kiev
  • Malta - Silvio Cilia & Aleksandra Olszynska of Corrieri Cilia Legal, Valletta

 

Each of our guests had a short opportunity to introduce their work and their firms to us.

Our business programme was packed and, gauging from the feedback, extremely well received. Our session called “Am I the Future Lawyer?” looked at the challenges of digitalisation and artificial intelligence (AI) in the world of legal services. This was a panel discussion which was led by a most thoughtful, practical and distinguished group of guest speakers:

  • Prof Marek Dabrowski of the University of Economy, who introduced us to the general economic challenges that may impact us as lawyers;
  • Magdalena Góra of the Jagiellonian University, Institute of European Studies, who discussed future possible policy scenarios of globalisation, cross border trade and the impact of the EU’s agenda;
  • Prof Bogumił Kamiński of the Warsaw School of Economics, who considered the ways in which AI will be used, automatic contracts, and how lawyers & clients will interact;
  • Bolesław Michalski, President and CEO of OpSec sp. z o.o., Institute for Economic Security SA. who pursued the theme of AI and what will lawyers need to know about cybercrime and its impact on their firms and their clients, how can lawyers keep up to date with such trends; and
  • Prof Bartosz Brożek of the Jagiellonian University, Department of Philology of Law and Legal Ethics - who asked us to look at all these challenges & consider the future ethical issues that lawyers will face, domestically and internationally, and how lawyers might need to adjust.

 

Apart from the panel discussion, few delegates will forget the mixture of further insight and perhaps just a little fear, when Boleslaw led a shorter session: “Cyber-security”. It is fair to say that his anecdotes and advice held our attention!

On Saturday 30 Sept we had a long session on “Influencing Skills” led by Natalia de Barbaro of the House of Skills. Natalia’s fun & engaging session had us working in teams and considering the transactional analysis model, looking at the behaviours of parent / child / adult; and applying all this to the thorny matter of how to work with others, in order to achieve our goals – and perhaps to ensure that others can reach theirs too!

Our other technical session covered inward investment fell under the banner of the WLN Academy led by WLN director, David Elvira Benito (Barcelona) – who devised an interactive game inspired by “Where’s Wally” in which all delegates were asked to consider the factors that influence inward investment decisions. We also heard from a panel of guests and WLN’s own experts and we thank all who contributed – Jackie Wu (Shanghai, China), Silvio Cilia (Valletta, Malta), Andres Willa (Buenos Aires, Argentina), Randy Whitmeyer (Raleigh NC, USA) and Wim Weijers (Eindhoven, NL).

What can we say about the social programme – which was equally memorable! First, thanks to all at GSW for hosting an excellent and relaxed opening reception in your offices. We hope that we left it all in one piece!

Apart from this and two wonderful dinners in the evenings, we were treated to a walking tour of Kraków in small groups, when we learned a great deal, visited the old Jewish Quarter, climbed the tower over the Market Square, played a team game and made a short movie in costumes. Who knew we had Oscar-worthy actors in our midst? Oh, and there might have been the need to sample the local vodka - we can neither confirm nor deny this rumour. We were guided throughout by the ever-excellent Grupa Aktywni and we send our thanks to Eliza Mrozińska and her team for contributing to our fun.

Thank you GSW!

It’s fair to say that Kraków will be a hard act to follow – again!  Thanks once more to Renata, Marcin and all at GSW for your hard work, humour and hospitality.  You have contributed once more to the great treasure-trove of the WLN memory bank and we are very grateful.

That said, we also have great events and venues to look forward to in 2018:

  • WLN Dublin Spring conference, 1-3 March 2018 (see booking information in the website Members’ Area); and
  • WLN Raleigh, NC Autumn conference, Sept 2018 (exact dates to be confirmed by early Dec).

See you there!

 

 

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